Hello good people, how are you? Hurtling towards winter as we are, I'm not looking forward to the cold and the dark, especially as we will be putting the clock back at the end of the month. The heating is on at home and we are snuggling under the duvets, trying to stay warm for longer. However, we still have the festive period to come - if it weren't for Christmas, it would be so dull by the time December arrives.
'Persian Pickles' or Paisley
The original Persian droplet-like motif – the boteh or buta – is thought to have been a representation of a floral spray combined with a cypress tree, a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The seed-like shape is also thought to represent fertility, has connections with Hinduism, and also bears an intriguing resemblance to the famous yin-yang symbol. It is still a hugely popular motif in Iran and South and Central Asian countries and is woven using silver and gold threads on to silks and fine wool for weddings and other celebrations.
Imports from the East India Company via the ‘silk routes’ brought the textile pattern to Europe in the 18th century, and following the arrival of luxurious Kashmir shawls some of which were very expensive, the pattern took the continent by storm. The shawls were soon imitated throughout Europe, mainly in Wales and the town of Paisley in Scotland. From that point onward the English term for the motif was ‘paisley’, though it is also known in the United States among quilt-makers as ‘Persian pickles’ or in the Welsh textile industry as ‘Welsh pears’.
Arthur Liberty, William Morris and the Arts-and-Crafts movement adapted the print, and it became an integral part of the Aesthetic Movement and the Art Nouveau Movement – shorthand for sophisticated, arty bohemianism. The Beatles, in the 60's once again revived the pattern by wearing it at their concerts and it became emblematic of the ‘summer of love’ and the aesthetic of the psychedelic era. Various designers have insisted that it has a deep meaning, that it symbolises the tree of life, the seed palm, thus fertility and it has remained exotic and cool with a rock vibe.
So, that's the background of my 'Persian Pickle'. When I was growing up, my mother called it the 'mango', which was as fanciful as she got. While I was researching the paisley I read that it could signify halved fresh figs, mangoes, gourds, licks of flame, or Cypress trees (sacred to the Zoroastrians); kidneys, tadpoles, tear drops, pears, or sperm! I even came across a Jehovah's Witness message board that wanted paisley to be "taboo" because it is considered a representation of sperm! What?? Have they ever looked down a telescope at a sperm? I have, and it is definitely not paisley shaped!!
I decided to release two of the pieces of labradorite I bought in Jaipur a few years ago, into the world. The paisley pattern appealed and with inspiration from Kinga Nichols, I started out on a paisley pattern I drew on a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff (not a made up Harry Potterish name, I promise).
That took the bulk of an evening, and I then started to fill in the gaps around the labradorite with tiny seed beads the next day. The labradorite is a startlingly deep blue when held up to the light, otherwise it is a dull grey. Another couple of evenings of zen enjoyment went by.
Finally, the paisley was filled in to my satisfaction and I encircled it with diamante cup chain and soutache braids and made a little flourish at the top of the 'mango'. Somewhere along the line, I decided I was going to hang the finished pendant on a blue necklace cord and hang citrine nuggets from the pendant.
Before I could do that I had to decide how the paisley was going to be hung - and after a long period of deliberation I made a final decision. This was very important as I needed to sew in the jump rings for the citrine dangles, and cover them with a layer of felt, and then another layer of ultrasuede. Once that die was cast, there would be no going back!
On day four, I added to loops to use as bails to hang the necklace - as I wanted the pendant to hang asymmetrically, the loops had to differ in length, and I decided to go all the way and make them in different colours. I liked the way the pendant was shaping up when I hung it from a knob on my beading lamp, but the green bail looked a bit stark. I added blue tassels with seed beads and Czech glass petals, taking inspiration from Kay Bonitz. The seed beads in this piece are all 15/0 which are smaller than 1mm in diameter and 11/0 which are 1mm - not terribly good for the eyes, fingers and feet. Feet?? you ask? Yes, they are so tiny they often fall from your hands to the floor, and it is inadvisable to walk around in bare feet. It certainly hurts like hell if one is trod on because they are invisible when so far away.
The Finished 'Pickle' - Perfectly Paisley!!
So here it is, the finished article. It is looking for that perfectly flamboyant woman who will love it's high visibility.
One of my customers asked how it hung on a real person, so I whipped on a shawl and took a quick picture and here it is. I think it would look much better on a dark, high necked little black dress, and I'll leave you to use your imagination to produce that image.
That's me for this week, folks. This pendant took me five evenings to make and I had no time for anything else. I do enjoy the beadwork, it is a lot of fun to watch the piece grow and evolve. When I start out, perhaps on Day 2-3, it looks awful, and I often have to put it away for a few days before I can face picking it up again. This piece, however, was a delight to bead from the start, so it flowed beautifully.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, I hope you've had a great week and thanks for coming back to take a look at Caprilicious. It's a horrible rainy, windy day out there and it seems like it's time to snuggle under the duvet and stay put all day. It's a good thing I have Caprilicious to get out of bed for this morning or I probably wouldn't have bothered as it is my day off.
It's a sad day today, as we have to cut down our tree on the front of the house. When we bought the house, the previous owner had it looking like a car park, with nothing but hard standing on the front so that his family could all get their cars off the road. We put in all the greenery you see in the photograph, but unfortunately, the tree to the left of the picture, now ten years old has invasive surface roots which are now encroaching on the house. It has to be chopped down, the roots dug up with a small digger as this particular tree can grow back from any roots left behind, and the paving that has gone all higgledy piggledy because of the surface roots has to be replaced.
If we'd known this earlier - like when we asked the guy at the garden centre before we bought it as a sapling - we'd never have bought our Gleditsia - Oh well, we've enjoyed it for ten years!
Getting in the mood for autumn this week, I picked up a hank of cloud agate. The notion of a cloud being captured in a stone always enchants me and I love this beautiful grey agate. I added bright turquoise blue magnesite and made a necklace called Cloudy Skies. It's almost as if I reached out of an aeroplane and condensed a handful of cloud into this necklace.
I was playing with clay, trying to finish off all the old clay I brought back home from a three day extravaganza called Polymania earlier on in the year and ended up with the flowers in this necklace. They reminded me of the Japanese anemones that come up in my garden in late August - they are very pretty, but the plant is so invasive, it sends out deep sucker roots that take over any flower bed. I spend most of summer pulling up the plant, and yet get a beautiful display of the anemones come August. They are so pretty, I cannot bring myself to dig up the flower bed to start again, sans anemone.
I had two malas of Rudraksh beads, acquired during a trip to India, and I thought this would be an ideal time to use some of the beads, this being autumn and a time for seeds and nuts. The rudraksh is meant to be a sacred seed that has many mythical metaphysical qualities. The seed can have up to fourteen segments, called 'faces', and each number of faces have their own significance and worn for a different metaphysical cure. I know none of these things, of course, just that the beads are interesting and different. If you wish to read a bit more about the tree, I have a link to an informative blog right here for you. Sadhus cover themselves in garlands of these beads, to dress like their boss, Lord Shiva, who was the greatest mendicant/sadhu of all time. Apparently, when Shiva once woke up from a period of meditation, he shed a tear, and this (when it fell to the ground, thankfully) grew into a rudraksh tree. Sadhus hope that if they wear the rudraksh beads, they will curry favour with the boss man. Legend has it that Indira Gandhi wore a rudraksh with one face, which is extremely rare and expensive and wore it at all times. We all know how much luck that brought her - or perhaps she'd slipped it off her neck on that fateful day!
Apart from the malas, I've seen jewellery made with these seeds in India, heavily encrusted with gold and occasionally silver, but I'm proud to have found a very contemporary and one off way of wearing these beads that is different from anything I've ever seen. The beads I brought back are smaller than usual, and I added lashings of crystals to bring a bit of brightness to the brown of the necklace which of course, was not colourful enough for Caprilicious without the extra oomph! A few red resin roses, and some teardrop orange coral beads left over from another necklace contributed to the colour factor in this piece.
The Pursuit of Happiness
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
This is part of the American Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. This necklace makes me happy! The green aventurine raw nugget beads, the beautiful Mandala pendant from Nepal, the whole thing came together effortlessly.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” –Anna Wintour
Hello folks, how have you been? It is as always nice to see you again, and thank you for reading the Caprilicious blog. If you're a new reader, do follow the blog using the Bloglovin' link in the sidebar and drop me a line in the comments, it's always lovely to speak to people.
A woman with attitude rules the world. She has a certain sultry attractiveness, a mindset that takes no sh*t and a stubbornness that can only be loved; it is safe to say that women like this hold great power. Not for her the fluttering eyelashes and coy dropping of the handkerchief, waiting for some poor sap to came along and pick it up. That sort of a fool wouldn't be attractive to her anyway. Strong colours and a lack of fear of exuding a style of her very own - that's a woman with attitude, and she rocks! I am fortunate to have met a number of such women since I set up Caprilicious Jewellery and they have become part of the Caprilicious family.
I read a blogpost by Joanna Meriwether called "Are you a Woman with Attitude?" and her thoughts so resonate with mine.
An Arabian Nights Dream
This week I reminded myself how much fun it is to knot a pearl necklace, rather than threaded on beading wire. The only problem with this method is that the necklace cannot be resized. I tried this out because I acquired a bunch of detachable bails so a pendant can be hung on a necklace when required. This gives the necklace a degree of versatility as it can be worn both during the day and night. I picked up some diamante bead caps at the same time, so I made an asymmetrical tassel with crystals and amethyst beads to hang on the silvery baroque pearl necklace. Of course, the tassel pendant can easily be used with another necklace if desired.
Nuggets of raw green aventurine and shiny black agate beads provide texture, contrast and colour in this simple yet effective piece. The nuggets are in a very soothing shade of green.
As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, I need a regular wire fix to keep me happy. This week, I made a little pendant out of tarnish resistant coated copper wire, intending to hang it on a necklace of bone beads. I ended up adding a load of crystal beads and turning the pendant so shiny and evening worthy, that the bone beads did not look right at all with it. One look at the bone and the pendant screamed in outrage and demanded something shiny to go with.
A quick change of plan and I put it with quartz needles and tiny clear crystals - I think it looks very pretty now. I've found a supplier in Vietnam, of all places, who sells the most beautiful little box clasps and one of these with a blue topaz was added to this necklace.
I have booked tickets to India early in the New Year and already people are booking the pieces they would like me to carry back for them. Added to that it is soon the festive season and I have a few pieces booked into a boutique and some more at an exhibition at the end of November. I'm also booked to be in London for work for a few days in November. All in all, it promises to be an exciting and busy time of year - and of course there are only 81 days left to Christmas!!
That's me for now folks, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you this week? It is as always lovely to speak to you. I've had a long weekend off work and am feeling so much better, my knees are almost back to normal. As I've been at home, with nothing to do I made a few pieces of jewellery to keep myself busy. Without meaning to, I've made three necklaces, each of them so different from the last that it may be difficult to identify that one person made all three. I know that at business management classes we are told about branding, and how anyone should be able to say '..x... made this piece' when they look at the jewellery made by a designer. I'm not sure if you get that vibe from my necklaces, or do you? Please write in and tell me. All I know is that my moods often leach into the colours I pick and the jewellery I design and I think that it must be right as the the ethos of Caprilicious Jewellery is to make jewellery for every mood a woman might have! Anyway, I'd be bored silly if I had to make the same thing over and over again, each day, every week.
Whenever I have a bit of time, I make a bunch of polymer clay beads, the simpler the better. They go into a little biscuit tin that lives on top of my buffing wheel. I rummage through it occasionally and when I have enough of the beads I need, I use them in a piece of jewellery. I have beads that have lived in there for over three years. I made the pink and yellow beads from a sheet of clay I rolled out at Polymania in Bristol two years ago, at a class by Jana Roberts Benzon. She teaches this beautiful technique and I'm loath to throw away any of the beautiful veneers she taught us to create. I used the last bits to make these two beads and they've been with me ever since. The black/grey ones were made with clay left over from last years Polymania and the birdies for which the necklace is named, somewhere in between times.
I always think that winter deserves a colourful necklace, and if it is long, so much the better to wear over roll neck tops and closed collars.
Colourful little cloisonne dragonflies chase each other over this torque necklace. The torque is meant to sit over the collarbones, not particularly close to the neck. It is made of wire wound over a very thick wire, with even more wire fixing the dragonflies to it, marking out the tortuous track of a dragonflies flight path. The handmade clasp and extender chain at the back has beads that come from the opposite end of the colour wheel to the dragonflies, adding interest to the piece.
Once I'd started with wire, there was no stopping me, my wire addiction was in full cry. I pulled out a tutorial written by the diva of wirework tutorials, Nicole Hanna - I swear that girl writes one tutorial a fortnight at least, in between photographing her cats, writing poetry, binge watching Game of Thrones on Netflix and managing her family and writing a blog. I had an idea what I wanted to do with it and a string of abalone beads, and here's what I envisioned (more or less)!! This one works with nine lengths of the thicker gauge wire, bound together with miles and miles of fine wire. The woven wire strips thus formed divide and rejoin each other, twisting and folding on themselves over and over again. It is quite a feat ending eighteen wires on the back of the piece in a tidy manner and I'm proud to say I managed it - if the pendant should turn over in error, the back would look almost as good as the front, and definitely tidy, with no pokey - outey bits to irritate the wearer!
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good day folks, thanks for coming back to Caprilicious for a look at my week. The weather has been vile, with two named storms hitting us back to back bringing gale force winds strong enough to kill a woman sleeping peacefully in her caravan, by flipping it over a cliff. Fortunately that was a rare occurrence, but the wind was wild and wooly, and scary.
This week was extremely hectic, my mother was unwell and I almost flew back to India - I had actually booked tickets to fly out for a couple of weeks, causing all sorts of disruption at work, only to be told that she was OK and that I wasn't needed. I cancelled my tickets, and went back to my colleagues sheepishly, announcing the reversal of my decision. Oh well, couldn't be helped. The minute I knew I wasn't flying back into a SH1T storm, I heaved a sigh of relief and picked up some beads.
I've had a couple of strings of ammonites for ages, and used them sparingly putting them into my soutache pieces in dribs and drabs. I love them because they are so ancient - it feels great to use an ancient item, that was once a live creature into my jewellery. They have shiny shells, that are translucent, with a beautiful shimmer in their depths. Ammonites were marine animals belonging to the phylum Mollusca and the class Cephalopoda. They had a coiled external shell similar to that of the modern nautilus.
They are beautiful when cut in half, and the shiny part of their outer shells form Ammolite which is almost opal like in its iridescence.
Early works of natural history compared the coiled form of the ammonite with that of a serpent, and ammonites became widely known as snakestone. They take their name from the Egyptian god Amun, known to the Greeks as Zeus Ammon.This god is depicted on Cyrean coins and in sculpture by a head with curling ram's horns. Many genera of ammonites have names ending in -ceras from the Greek word 'keras' meaning horn.
I am totally in awe of their age and think it's an honour to be able to wear them in jewellery, apart from their obvious beauty. I'm sorry that the YouTube film I've added is a bit simplistic, but I thought it showed exactly what happens to the ammonites to turn them into fossils in a very simple way.
The pendant is so very tribal, and so are the arrowheads, and I put them with spikes of dyed blue howlite. This was a sort of random selection during a routine rummage, an 'I'll add this, and what about these, and Oh! this might do as well' sort of a collection of beads and baubles, and I was totally surprised by the outcome. I love it, it turned out to be really pretty.
That's me for this week folks, the parental situation has exhausted me somewhat and depleted my energies. It is strange to suddenly realise that you're all grown up and have to assume responsibility for another person (never having had children, I know nothing of this) and in fact you're the grownup! Hmm, better late than never, I s'pose. I intend to catch up on my sleep, and pamper my poor arthritic knees all weekend.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how's tricks? I've been a lady of leisure this week, nursing my poorly knee at home, and it seems to be responding to all the TLC I've been bestowing upon it. My husband has been waiting on me hand and foot, and I could get used to this way of life, except that I would turn into a big fat hippopotamus if I sat on my bottom any more. While I've been at home, I've made quite a few pieces of jewellery - better this, than the devil making work for idle hands!
These beads were in my mail when I got home from Madrid - they are frosted opalite glass, and have an aurora borealis coating on one side. When they rotate on the beading wire and the light catches them they shine with an unearthly glow - I just love them. I made simple necklaces with beautiful clasps, using little seed beads as spacers. There are two necklaces - one of them is a pale white, and the other is grey. The paler one is already spoken for, but I actually prefer the darker one. What do you think??
Kalachakra literally means The Wheel of Time - the tradition revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets to the cycles of human breathing, and it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to nirvana. I'm afraid I'm too much of a simpleton to understand the depths of these spiritual arguments, all I know is that these ghau boxes are particularly beautiful (and expensive). I've been looking out for one of them in my price range for ages and ages, and when this one came up, I snapped it up. This was the vendors last one unfortunately, and he didn't think he'd have any more anytime soon. I wanted the pendant to be the focal point, so I made a very simple necklace to carry it.
'I haven't made anything with wire in ages,' I thought, so I picked up a frosted grey crackled agate and set it in a wire surround - I had a tiny cloisonne dragonfly from China, and I wired it onto the pendant. Here's one of my favourites, Laura Fygi singing Fly Me to the Moon, in French - it was of course one of Frank SInatra's numbers and is very much a classic. The pendant is based on a Nicole Hanna design - I cut too much wire and ended up making more swirls and layers than the original design, but I wasn't going to waste the wire I'd cut, no siree!
Raw citrine nuggets resemble brown cane sugar - the closer the festival season gets in India, the more this form of sugar is available in large blocks so that housewives can make sweets for the household, and for distribution to friends - at least that's the way it was in my childhood. Today, it is much easier to go to a sweet shop and order ready packaged sweets to send out to friends. In a moment of pure nostalgia, I picked up the citrine that had been sitting around for ages. I put them with quartz needles and moldavite and crystal spacers. A little peridot box clasp was a beautiful finishing touch.
And finally ..... Another Ghau Box .....
I love ghau boxes - I think you might have noticed that by now. I think it's the child in me that delights in the thought of an invisible compartment with my little secrets hidden away, while everyone thinks it is just another pendant. Here's another one - it's the last one in my stash, I promise. I made the Buddha mala beads earlier - they are decorated with gold foil and antiqued to give a faux raku look.
That's me for this week, folks. I'm happy to report that my knee is much better. I'm going to work this weekend, and if they stand up to it, I will go back to work full time, next week.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you? I hope you've fared better than I have this week gone by. Mike and I went to Madrid on a short pre winter city break, but unfortunately I couldn't enjoy too much of it as one of my knees gave me so much trouble, I sat most of the holiday out. We got back after four days and I'm off to the hospital to have my knees checked out, having seen my GP this afternoon.
Perforce, I spent the whole of the first day relaxing on the roof terrace, soaking up the late summer sun and resting my poorly knee. Fortunately it was a nice place to sit and I wasn't confined to the hotel bedroom, which would have been terrible.
After a couple of days resting on the rooftop and getting a feel for the city in a car driven by a really nice man who spoke perfect English and was able to show us around the city, the knee was marginally better, and we managed to do a bit of sightseeing, with many pit stops in between. Fortunately there were loads of taxis in the city and we flagged them down to ferry us from one place to the next. I even managed a bit of shopping at El Cortes Ingles, which is my favourite place to shop in Spain.
We went to Retiro Park and had churros and hot chocolate at a little kiosk- it was too warm to do much else but I managed a couple of pictures of people enjoying themselves, before we left. We went to the Museo Reina Sofia to see Picasso's Guernica and a couple of Kandinsky's they had hanging there. I couldn't do too much more walking so we ended up at the Westin Palace Hotel for afternoon tea. I'd read so much about the beautiful rotunda in the central dining room that I just had to go and take a look at it.
We went to Les Cafe Chinitas to watch the flamenco dancers, and Cafe Central to listen to a Spanish Brass band, as well as a little place in the Chueca district called El Despertar for some jazz. All the apartments in Madrid seem to have their lights switched off all evening - everyone is out on the streets till late at night - we stayed up every night till about 2am and there were still people walking about on the streets and sitting at the various bars and cafes where food is served till late.
And just as my knee was getting less painful (or, I was managing it better), it was time to come back home, to the GPs surgery and an Xray tomorrow morning. Who knows what's in store - the GP was talking about cortisone injections and I will see an orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow once the X Rays are available.
I'm keeping everything crossed and hopefully things will settle down. Have a fabulous week folks, and I'll catch you next weekend, at the usual time.
Hello people, I hope all is well with you today and that you've had a good week. We had a Bank Holiday this Monday and of course, this means guaranteed poor weather in the UK - that's almost a given! Time off is not to be sneezed at however, and I took full advantage of it. Hubby and I vegged out in front of the telly watching movies back to back, me with a bead tray in my lap. True bliss, and just my kind of relaxation.
I started a Goddess pendant a few weeks ago, but put it aside as I got too busy for a while. I decided that I was going to finish it over the long weekend and started to channel all the Goddesses I know of into the piece.
It will soon be time for the major celebrations in the Indian calendar, marking the triumph of good over evil in one form or another. The first one is the Durga pooja, which marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful demon disguised as a buffalo, Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious (well, of course - did you really think a demon who could only think of a buffalo disguise could be allowed to win, over a woman with eight arms, each one carrying a Lethal Weapon?).
The festival epitomises the victory of good over evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the power behind all of life and creation. It lasts for ten days and is both a social and religious event. Soon after this comes Diwali, another popular festival, which spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. This celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period.
Those of us who are non believer heathens still enjoy the over the top colour and craziness, and the fifteen days of the holiday period are a time when families bond over food and sweets, children set off firecrackers and a lot of fun is to be had - you can tell I'm looking at this through a retrospectoscope!
In reality, all government offices are closed so official business ceases and if you cannot get your work scheduled between the end of Diwali and Christmas, you are royally sc%&%ed and have to wait for the next year when everyone is back at their desks (also through the retrospectoscope!!).
My Goddess is non denominational, and has a beautiful crown of Czech dagger beads, and a halo of individually wrapped crystals. She is over embellished, as goddesses are with shiny crystals and fringes and is delightfully over the top. I call her Shakti, which means strength and have her on a simple necklace of yellow agate beads.
The Xian Kun Necklace
This week was a week of symbolism, runes and icons. I bought a medallion from a Tibetan trader - this is a man's waist amulet with Bagua symbols. Bagua symbols are used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts representing opposing forces or elements - Yin and Yang. The Bagua is an essential tool in the majority of Feng Shui schools.
The amulet was rather large, so to balance it I added three strands of chevron beads, yellow agate and turquoise to make a necklace that would stand out a mile - definitely one for when you want to be noticed.
The Siren's Song
I saw images of an Indian silver comb used as a pendant on various sites and I made it my goal to track one down when I was last in India. I researched it earlier, and apparently the combs are reproductions of Rajasthani hair or beard perfume combs.
"The top of the comb is hollow, and contains a well which may be filled with perfume or perfumed oil. This is closed off by a decorative finial, which acts as a stopper. It unscrews so that the chamber may be filled. The central chamber is pieced by small holes, set between the fine metal teeth. By this means the perfume is then dispersed in small amounts as the comb is drawn through the hair." Ruby Lane
Unfortunately this replica is not hollow and cannot hold perfume, however, it is just as pretty as the real thing. I held on to it for ages and then decided the time had come to set it free and strung it with bright red coral and silver beads in a very beautiful necklace.
Sirens were beautiful women, with long hair who sat on the rocks, combing their tresses and singing sweet songs, luring unwary listeners who passed by in their ships onto the rocks. This is a painting by John William Waterhouse who was an English painter in the early twentieth century. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. I can imagine this siren combing her long tresses with the comb from the necklace, singing soulfully while she perfumes her hair.
I'm not sure what the sirens had against thee poor sailors, and why they didn't spend their time more gainfully, but they sure looked pretty in spite of being murderous at heart.
That's me for this week folks, I'm now off to pack for my pre winter holiday. Have a great week and I'll be back with you next weekend, although a bit later than usual,
Hello folks, how are you today? It's been an odd sort of a nowhere and nothing week here - totally unremarkable, with not much happening out and about around me. The weather has turned decidedly cooler but it's not yet time for our annual holiday. I've felt as if I've just been marking time, waiting for something to happen. I got a subscription to Amazon Prime having given up on Netflix which seemed to have only B movies and watched movies back to back after work. One of those I watched was Frida, a biopic of Frida Kahlo, played beautifully by Salma Hayek.
Some of you might remember that I went to see an exhibition of Kahlo's artefacts and dresses in the Museum of Modern Art in Milan. She is an iconic figure, who knew how to dress for effect; the flowers and ribbons in her hair, the chunky rustic jewellery, embroidered blouses and Mexican skirts in vivid colours - Kahlo really understood the power of image. Reportedly, she spent hours in front of the mirror, and regularly enjoyed the chance to shop - as well as commissioning the making of particular garments. Throughout her life she used her wardrobe choices as a means to play with perception, helping to define how she occupied space as a woman, as well as an artist. Frida Kahlo’s image resonates to this day. She is frequently referenced online, with those startling portraits reposted frequently.
In particular her love for flowers worn distinctively in her hair as a tiara right on top of her head are extremely iconic, bold, brilliant, and often joyous: part armour, part mirror, part performance, part visual language and I decided to make a necklace inspired by them.
The teardrop shaped coral beads when strung together, appear like a garland of petals. I picked a string of beads that matched the coral in a pendant I had in my stash, For once I picked out all the elements I meant to use in the necklace, and put them together in a sort of 'mood board'.
I usually start with one element and pull the others out of my collection of beads and findings randomly when I open a drawer and they stand up and yell for attention, but this time, I was a bit more organised, having thought things through.
The pendant, of silver, came from Indonesia and has a beautiful slice of lapis lazuli and a turquoise cabochon, with the little coral dangle I mentioned earlier.
Last week I made faux amber beads from polymer clay and this week I put the necklace together with the Tagemout pendant. The lady I made it for was gratifyingly appreciative when I sent her photographs and it is winging its way to her as I type.
The young lady in this picture in one of Caprilicious' best friends - she sent me this picture of her wearing one of her many statement pieces, on her way to a show in London. I love it when people send me pictures in their Caprilicious statements. The smile on their faces gives me such a buzz.
Another of my repeat customers wrote to me saying how gutted she was to have missed out on owning this necklace. This lady has recently had an operation on her knee and I felt she really needed a boost to her spirits, so I made her another one.
When people enjoy their Caprilicious Jewellery and come back for more, they touch a chord in my heart - to love Caprilicious is to love me, as after all, it is my alter ego - a tiny piece of me goes into every piece of jewellery I make.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello good people of the internet world, thank you for dropping by today. I hope you've had a good week and enjoyed every moment of it. The days have gone cooler and there have been sprinklings of rain, but in general, the UK is still basking in the glorious summer we've had this year. I've almost forgotten about what it feels like in winter, and who knows what is to come with all the anxieties about global warming.
I wrote a tutorial for Bead and Jewellery Magazine in early 2017 called Sunflower Smile - to write the tutorial, I had to photograph the steps as I went along, and then, once the article was accepted, send the finished product to the magazine for it to be professionally photographed. The tutorial was published and the beads returned to me.
I've had the sunflowers since then - I used one and the necklace was picked up at the Handmade Fair. SInce then I've run into a complete block about what to do with the other two.
I bought some grey agate druzy slab nuggets a few weeks ago and when they arrived I wanted to make something entirely different with them - different from anything I've ever made, and different from anything anyone else is likely to make. I think I've achieved my goals with this piece - there can't be that many polymer clay sunflower and slab bead necklaces in the world!
Sweet Sunflower Smile
The colourful beads at the back add a bit of zing! to the piece.
In Greek mythology, Apollo – that handsome god of the sun – was the subject of adoration of a nymph who sat and gazed at him every day. Eventually, the gods took pity on her and turned that nymph into a sunflower, which is why sunflowers always appear to be yearning for the sun.
Sunflower centres are actually made up of thousands of tiny flowers, which then grow into seeds. It is said that if you place a sunflower seed under your pillow, you'll wake up and discover the answer to any question on your mind.
The Morning After
The markings on the pale grey dragon's vein agate in this necklace look like a bloodshot eye, the morning after a great night out on the razzle. The blue agate has a bit of light tracery running through it as well and together, they make a very pretty picture. The two brushed metal beads and the sweet little clasp set with a black onyx only make it prettier. Once again I rescued a potentially drab grey necklace, this time with touches of blue and silver.
One of my clients requested a necklace with a Tagemout bead - she saw one I made earlier and asked for a similar piece. It took me ages to find a suitable Tagemout, and I spent some time over the weekend making the faux amber beads in the necklace.
Polymer clay is a chameleon substance which is readily manipulated to resemble glass, gemstones, amber and other materials.
The Moroccan Tagemout bead was strung with faux amber in the necklace I made a couple of years ago.
Amber doesn't surface in the Sahara, due to a scarcity of ancient pine forests and was formed on the shores of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe and shipped onwards through Italy. It was packed onto the backs of camels by indigo-shrouded Tuareg traders, who carried them deep into the desert to exchange for gold.
These faux amber beads are meant to be old, and fashioned some time back in the 19th century. Their surfaces have a crazed and weathered patina and appear broken and repaired. Many have been broken in half parallel to the stringing hole. Tiny strips of decorative silver are hammered across the break to make them whole. Little pieces of 'coral and turquoise' are inserted into the niches in the 'amber' as a decoration. The beads are now ready to be made up into a necklace, possibly next week.
Translucent clay coloured with alcohol inks and embossing powder.
The beads were rolled, embellished and cured.
Each bead was sanded with 3 successive grits of sandpaper, and antiqued
Buffed and polished, and finally ready to use.
So, there you are then. That's what I've been up to this week. What have you been doing? Do tell.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.